Tackling Childhood Obesity in Europe through Awareness and Prevention 

Childhood obesity has become a major public health concern in Europe, with around one-third of 11-years-olds overweight or obese according to the WHO. Obesity can cause severe emotional difficulties for the children affected, resulting in with lower self-esteem and increased chances of underachievement in school. The health consequences of obesity are moreover significant, with children suffering from conditions most prevalently experienced in adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and orthopaedic problems. More than 60% of overweight children will stay overweight into adulthood, imposing a major burden on public spending. Indeed, around 7% of the national health budgets across the EU are spent each year on diseases linked to obesity.

The European Union has made a concerted effort, in partnership with international organisations, to tackle this challenge. In 2014, the European Commission launched the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020 with the overarching objective to halting the rise in overweight and obesity in children and young people by 2020. It sets out priority areas for action and possible measurement tools and provides a basis for the Member States to develop policy on childhood obesity. In the same year, the WHO adopted the new European Food and Action Plan 2015-2020, signalling a renewed effort to improve food system governance and the overall quality of the European population’s diet and nutritional status.

Despite these measures, the number of obese children is constantly rising. This development is brought by a number of elements, among them socioeconomic factors; family as a driving force for unhealthy behaviour; children being exposed to a sedentary environment; the high media consumption and the consequent exposure to food advertisement. Urgent action is needed to raise awareness of the consequences of obesity, to promote healthy diets and physical activities whilst improving access to adequate and accessible treatment. The food and beverage industry is moreover obliged to market and label products responsibly and proactively support Governments to decrease the alarming number of obese children across the EU.

This symposium will provide a timely and invaluable opportunity to engage with the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020 and the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020. It will also enable attendees to examine the factors underpinning childhood obesity and discuss the current strategies for prevention and treatment. The symposium will further offer delegates a platform to share ideas and best practice from across Europe.

Delegates will:

  • Discuss current EU policy initiatives and priorities, and the need for a European framework for breaking the cycle of obesity in Europe
  • Examine the progress, challenges and next steps in tackling obesity and explore ways to encourage healthy lifestyle habits in every child
  • Highlight the importance of physical activity and community-based approaches to combating obesity
  • Analyse and learn from examples of best practice in different Member States and establish recommendations for future actions
  • Evaluate the accessibility of healthy diets and protect children from unhealthy food advertising
  • Determine how to improve the accessibility of existing support services
  • Build strong partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the public and private sector

For further details, please refer to this event brochure. Do feel free to circulate this information to relevant colleagues within your organisation.

In the meantime, to ensure your organisation is represented, please book online or complete and return the registration form at your earliest convenience in order to secure your delegate place(s).


Kind regards,

Conference Team
Public Policy Exchange
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3137 8630
Fax: +44 (0) 20 3137 1459


Tackling Childhood Obesity in Europe through Awareness and Prevention 

Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre, Brussels

Thursday 12th October 2017


Susanne Ring-Dimitriou
Associate Professor
Paris Lodron-University of Salzburg

Daciana Octavia Sârbu
Member of the European Parliament

Susanne Logstrup
European Heart Network

Leentje Vervoort
Postdoctoral Researcher, Clinical Developmental Psychology
University of Ghent

Will Gilroy
Director of Public Affairs and Communications
World Federation of Advertisers

Jolanda Boer
PhD, Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

Martin Schmalzried
Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer
COFACE Families Europ

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